It's great to see the Texas Rangers get out to a 2-0 series lead in the ALCS against the defending World Series Champions, the Houston Astros. It was a nail-biter between both teams in Game 2. Houston designated hitter Yordan Alvarez's two home runs helped the Astros inch closer to the Rangers' lead. One thing that can't happen in Game 3 in Arlington is to let Alvarez get hot at the plate. You could tell when he hit both those home runs today that it gave the Astros some momentum.
MLB.com reporter Mike Petriello wrote an article about how to attack Alvarez at the plate before the 2022 ALCS started. It goes into great detail on how to get him to swing at pitches and where not to throw them. Let's take a look at some of the ways in the article that the Rangers could use to slow him down in the remainder of the series.
How to slow down Yordan Alvarez: 1. Throw high with righties, low with lefties
This is probably the best way to attack Alvarez. Have your right-handed pitchers throw high and your left-handed pitchers throw low. If you look at the strike zone charts in the article, Alvarez tended to strike out high against right-handed pitchers and low against left-handed pitchers. Jordan Montgomery got Alvarez swinging on a changeup that ended up low when Jonah Heim caught it in Game 1. That's got to be the main game plan with your pitchers moving forward when he's up to bat.
How to slow down Yordan Alvarez: 2. Intentionally walk him
One of the other ways that the Rangers can limit Alvarez's impact is by intentionally walking him. The score and current situation within the game will dictate when it makes sense to award him a free pass, but it is a strategy worth considering. Intentionally walking him when there is no one on base, or if first base is open, is a great way to limit the amount of damage that he can do.
It's a risk to intentionally walk him because you don't know if Jose Abreu will crush it into the outfield and advance him around the bases. It's something that Rangers manager Bruce Bochy has to look into to make sure they are limiting Alvarez from doing too much harm. This method can definitely limit damage from Alvarez throughout the remainder of the ALCS.
How to slow down Yordan Alvarez: 3. Throw cutters and sinkers away from him
The Rangers pitching staff needs to throw some good cutters and sinkers away from him to limit his offense. From the games that I've seen Alvarez play in the playoffs, he seems to bite on cutters and sinkers away from him. You can see that Chapman tried to get him to bite on a slider and it didn't work out for him. It was a good pitch, but not quite sharp enough. If you can get Alvarez to bite on crisp breaking balls away from him, the Rangers have a good shot to limit his offense in this series.
How the Texas Rangers can slow down Yordan Alvarez in the ALCS: Conclusion
Alvarez is one of the best hitters in the game today and he showed it in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Rangers. They need to limit his offense for the remainder of the series if the Rangers want to get back to the World Series for the first time since 2011. All three of these methods above are great ways to make sure Alvarez doesn't swing the momentum in the Astros favor. If Bochy uses any of these three methods to limit his offense, the Rangers will have a good shot at winning the series.